MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS AND FINANCIAL RESULTS

Cheap MTN Shares Offer Opens in South Africa

The application period of the National Empowerment Fund's (NEF's) Asonge share scheme for MTN shares, which is intended to bring more black South Africans into the economic mainstream, officially opened yesterday.

The NEF is selling about 11,7-million, or 0,6%, of MTN's shares to black individuals (Africans, coloureds and Indians) and investment groups under the Asonge share scheme. The shares will be sold at R79,61 each, which is a 20% discount compared with Friday's closing price of R99,51. The offer closes on August 16.

Victor Mabuza, executive for asset management at the NEF, said yesterday the offer was aimed at the lower and middle classes rather than the very poor, who did not have the means to buy shares.

The shares were originally bought for R171m at R28,52 a share in 2002.

Investors in the NEF Asonge share scheme are locked in for a minimum of 12 months.

The NEF said that in order to encourage investors in the scheme to hold their MTN shares after expiry of the lock-up period, investors would receive an extra share for every 10 held if they kept their shares for the next 12 months.

NEF communications manager Moemise Motsepe said allocations would be 50% to individuals, with 50% of this being focused on women, and the other 50% allocated to black savings or investment groups. Figures on how many people had subscribed would be released.

(Source: Business Day)

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